Federal Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Anti-Abortion Clinics on Sign Issue

Jun 28, 2012

A federal appeals court has struck down two ordinances in in Maryland that would have required anti-abortion pregnancy counseling centers to put up disclaimers.

The 2-to-1 decisions by the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the ordinance targeting centers in Baltimore and Montgomery County violated their free-speech rights.

The Baltimore ordinance would have required the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns to post a sign saying that it does not provide abortions or birth control. 

In the majority opinion Judge Paul Neimeyer wrote that free information based on religious or political belief is protected by the First Amendment even if it is connected to commercial services.

But in his dissent Judge Robert King called the majority opinion indefensible adding that his colleagues had ignored the possibility that the ordinance is only directed at commercial speech.